Outstretched across the polder
The Mill Network at Kinderdijk-Elshout, was inscribed onto the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997. However, 19 windmills have stood on this open landscape since 1740; they successfully overcame the continued struggle to keep the encroaching water at bay.
Legend has it…
After a devastating flood in 1421, survivors left their homes to assess the damage; they noticed a cradle bobbing up and down on the water, carrying the sound of a crying baby. The floating cradle was kept in balance by a cat, jumping up and down to keep the basket from sinking.
The baby was saved: maybe this was how the name Children’s Dyke (Kinderdijk) came about?
Take a boat trip
You don’t actually need to pay to enter the site; you can take a stroll around free of charge. However, we also chose to join the scenic 30-minute cruise along the waterway of Overwaard, to see the wonderful imposing windmills up close.
The view from the boat gives a different perspective, and you’re able to gain a greater understanding of the network of waterways across the landscape.
The windmills along each storage basin (boezem) of Overwaard and Nederwaard are quite different. The Overwaard windmills are octagonal and wooden, which are covered in reed thatch, these are lighter but posed a greater fire risk.
However, the windmills on the Nederwaard side are round and brick built with reed thatched caps and their sails are ‘ground-sailors’.
Amongst the reeds
The footpath through Kinderdijk is very pleasant, from here you can visit the windmill museums or just take your time and wander along the dykes and amongst the flora & fauna, appreciating these wonderful structures.
Would you like a little more?
We have created a little YouTube video of Kinderdijk – We hope you enjoy an insight into this wonderful piece of history.
Why not subscribe to the channel and get the latest clips as we post them?